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iTunes “Genius”

iTunes “Genius”

Quick back-story summary (scroll down to “Genius” for topic):
  • March 2004: Buy 2004 Subaru Impresa WRX STi little monster hotrod sans sound system; which is okay because the car makes beautiful music all on its own.
  • About 18-months later, have painful kickazz sound system installed; soup, nuts, and the whole nine yards. Thinking progressively, have optional iPod connector included.
  • Sometime later… actually bought an iPod.
  • Sometime later… took iPod out of box.
  • Sometime later, loaded most of ~300-CD library onto PC and iPod in order to have favorites available at the touch of a button.
  • Quickly realized that such convenience is not readily available… choosing music is much more complicated and behind-the-wheel dangerous than what I expected.
  • Decide to create playlists in order to facilitate “favorites” selection… and to avoid heart-pounding automotive near-catastrophe due to manipulation of sound system during high-speed and/or high-G maneuvers.
  • Absolutely fail to create playlists due to procrastination.

So… there it is and here we are. :unsure:


Due to automatic update notification, I was recently made aware of a newer version of iPod/iTunes software. I clicked through but the installation failed. Ultimately, the resolution of the problem was that the USB connector had loosened so the iPod was not actually connected to the PC; but I didn’t know that, and delved deeper and deeper into the technical aspects… trying to diagnose, repair, reinstall, etc.

Therein I “discovered” Genius.

I don’t know if this a new feature, but it is the answer to my otherwise unexpressed and unrealized prayers. Even better is its one-touch button simplicity:

You highlight a song… let’s say for example: Big Electric Cat by Adrian Belew. Push the Genius button and you get a playlist of similar/complementary songs from your library. You can save it, share it, burn it, or even ignore it. But as someone who, back in the vinyl-and-cassette days, used to spend untold hours creating “mix tapes” (for driving, partying, whatever) but who no longer has the time or drugs to do so… this thing is a godsend.

I don’t know how it works: Artist, genre, year, play history… beats per minute… I dunno but it works… well, it’s apparently working for me. My music library encompasses a wide variety… everything from Classic and Classical through Rock, Metal, International, Electronic, Jazz, R&B, Soundtracks… even Irish Drinking Songs and Polkas… and this thing apparently keys upon the “anchor” song and bases the playlist on that.

And it’s not just choosing the popular songs. Indeed, it has included several “secret” or forgotten songs from the library; and I’ve experienced some not just “oh yeah” moments… but also “this really fits in the flow” moments.

Many years ago, a friend gave me what he called a “mix tape”… and it quickly became apparent that he had loaded 5 or 6 CDs into a player and hit “random” and “record.” Gee, thank you for this special gift… I know how much of yourself you put into it. :lol:

I’m not getting that feeling from this Genius thing.

It’s obvious that I am appealing to convenience… and perhaps to the “corporations and computers are taking over the world” conspiracy theories… but there is no “new” music or advertising in this. It’s my library, my songs, my favorites, all pleasantly blended. What used to take untold hours… (and more than a few “rocky transitions”)… is now pushbutton convenient.

Sure, some enthusiasts will lambaste me for not employing a more hands-on approach… “robot DJ” and all that… but music mixing is not my forte. There is no bucket big enough for me to be able to carry both rhythm and a tune. Heck, the only musical instrument I ever studied or played was the ACCORDIAN!
No, I’m NOT kidding! I lugged that thing around through my adolescence; and like so many other embarrassing aspects of my life… it’s still in my Mom’s basement! Do you really want >>>ME<<< making playlists?!!!

So I’m interested in hearing what you think about this… both this Genius thing if you’re familiar with it… and more generally how you arrange the music that you enjoy listening to. Hopefully, like me, you’re not still trying to choose albums and songs whilst flagrantly breaking the speed limit and winging through 1-G turns… there’s a healthier alternative… and it’s not commercial radio.


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